In some pockets, such as the small town of Arnaudville, French rules -- on street signs, in radio broadcasts, political ads and even as the sole language of some residents.
At the Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park in Lafayette Parish, a replica of an Acadian village depicts life circa 1765-1890. For a modern taste of Cajun life, landmark Lafayette restaurants Randol's and Prejean's host live Cajun music and specialize in local favorites such as crawfish étouffée.
Go for: Unlike the glittery spectacle in New Orleans, Mardi Gras in Cajun Country has changed little since its early days. Revelers on horseback dress up in costumes made from flour sacks or burlap, and ride from house to house collecting ingredients -- including live chickens -- for a communal pot of gumbo. Feb.12.